Olympic swimming in the Seine highlights efforts to clean up city rivers worldwide
One year out from the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic games, Paris has announced it will reopen the River Seine for swimming competition and then allow public swimming, ending a century-long ban. This ban was in place to stop people immersing themselves in river waters polluted by stormwater, sewage and chemicals.
But after many years of stormwater management work, three Olympic and Paralympic events will be held in the Seine in 2024 – the swimming marathon and the swimming legs of the Olympic triathlon and Para-triathlon. The Seine will also feature in the opening ceremony when, instead of the traditional athletes’ parade in a stadium, a parade of boats will carry the teams along the river.
The clean waters of the swimmable Seine are being promoted as a positive legacy of these games. But it’s not the first time Olympic swimming events have been held in the famous river. And with growing commitments to swimmable cities around the world, it is unlikely to be the last.
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